Dancing Girl statue goes 'missing' from Mohenjo Daro park

It has been reinstated now
Aug 21, 2021

A replica of the famous Dancing Girl statue of the Indus Valley Civilisation has been reinstated at the Mohenjo Daro park after it went missing.

A picture of the statue missing from its usual place started circulating on social media. The authorities initially declined to comment on the missing artifact.

Then another picture started circulating showing the statue lying in the storeroom.

The authorities then responded by saying that the statue had been moved to the storeroom after it was broken. They said that they were cleaning it.

Architect Naveed Sangha told SAMAA TV that the statue had fallen due to strong winds but they have fixed it and reinstated it now.

Dancing Girl

The statue, which is said to be 4,500 years old, has been described as one of the most captivating pieces of art from the Indus Civilisation by famous archeologists.

The tall copper-bronze statue, which was excavated in 1926, is 10.8 centimeters high. It is one of the two bronze artworks found at Mohenjo Daro that shows a more natural pose than compared to other more formal figures.

The figure shows a slender young woman standing upright, with her head titled slightly back, her left leg bent at the knee. Around her neck, there is a small necklace with three large pendant beads. On her left arm, she wears 24 to 25 bangles, while the right arm has four bangles.* Her curly hair is in a loose bun, twisted in a spiral fashion, and pinned in place at the back of her head.

It was named 'Dancing Girl' based on an assumption of her profession. Whether the statuette actually portrays a dancer is open to question.

The original statue can be found on the ground floor of the National Museum in New Delhi. In 2016, Pakistani lawyer Javed Iqbal Jaffrey petitioned the Lahore High Court to issue directions to the federal government to claim the statute. The petitioner said that the statue was taken to India around 60 years ago at the request of the National Arts Council, Delhi, and was never brought back.

The statue has been cast using the lost wax process. The creator first carved a model in wax, then covered it with wet clay. Then holes were bored into the clay mold. After the mold was heated, the wax flowed out creating a hollow space into which was poured a mixture of molten copper and tin.

*This description has been given by researchers Rajesh Hooda, Rajpal, and Kushal Parkash in their 2018 paper on Femininity in Proto-historic South Asian Art: an Analytical Study of Harappans.

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